Apple fans rejoice (and get your credit cards ready).
Apple today took the wraps off one of its largest notebook refreshes in years, with new MacBook Pro and Air models. Hardware was only half the story today at Apple's WWDC12 event, which also marked the preview of the new IOS 6 release for iPad and iPhone.
At the top end of Apple's mobile food chain is a new 15-inch MacBook Pro that for the first time will include the high resolution Retina display. The Retina display previously had only been available on the iPhone and new iPad. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro has also been redesigned to be a thinner form factor, measuring 0.71 inches and weighing only 4.46 pounds. Inside the new MacBook Pro is an Intel Core i7 quad core processor running up 3.7 GHz and supported by an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650 for discrete graphics. On the storage side, Apple is packing in as much as 768 GB of flash storage.
"With a gorgeous Retina display, all flash architecture and a radically thin and light design, the new MacBook Pro is the most advanced Mac we have ever built," Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a statement.
All that power comes with a price. The top end of the new MacBook Pro line, with a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz, 8GB of memory and 512GB of flash storage starts at $2,799.
Apple last updated its MacBook notebook lineup in February of 2011 with the introduction of the Thunderbolt I/O technology.
While the new MacBook Pro is the only new look hardware from Apple's WWDC event, Apple is also refreshing its existing MacBook Pro and Air lineups as well.
"Today we’ve updated the entire MacBook line with faster processors, graphics, memory, flash storage and USB 3 connectivity," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in a statement.
Both the 11-inch and the 13-inch MacBook Air get updates with new Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. Apple is also doubling the amount of starting RAM to 4 GB and including both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports for connectivity. The 11-inch MacBook Air with 64 GB of Flash storage and 1.7 GHz processor has pricing starting at $999, while the bigger 13-inch MacBook Air with a 1.8 GHz process and 128 GB of Flash costs $1,199.
Hardware alone didn't steal the show at Apple's event as the company also announced its latest mobile operating system release. IOS 6 is now in preview with full availability set for this fall. The IOS 6 update will be the first major update to Apple mobile operating system, which not coincidentally was previewed at Apple's 2011 WWDC event.
Among the major new features in IOS 6 is a new Maps application that will provide full turn-by-turn based navigation. The IOS 6 Maps apps will also mark a departure from Google Maps, which had been the underlying mapping technology used in all previous IOS releases.
Apple is now also directly integrating Facebook support into IOS, much the same way that IOS 5 directly integrated Twitter. As such, posting, commenting and 'liking' with Facebook will become more pervasive across the IOS experience. Siri, Apple's voice activated personal attendant software, is now set to move beyond its iPhone 4S confines to become available on iPad devices as well.
One of the other key new features is an app called Passbook which will let users use their IOS devices as a ticket for events and locations.
"Passbook lets you scan your iPhone or iPod touch to use a coupon, get into a concert or check into your hotel," Apple stated. "Passbook automatically displays your passes on your Lock Screen based on a specific time or location, so when you walk into your favorite coffee shop your loyalty card appears and you can scan it to buy a coffee or check your balance."
IO6 is currently available as a developer preview for registered members of Apple IOS developer program at: developer.apple.com.